Innovative Retention Techniques: Creative Workplace Benefits

March 24, 2022
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Author: Rosie Greaves, Contributing Writer

Although essential, job satisfaction isn't just about salary. In fact, studies show that 80% of workers would opt to keep a job with benefits rather than take a higher-paying job with no benefits.

Put simply, employee benefits have a significant bearing on staff retention. These stats speak for themselves:

That said, benefits don’t always have to come in the form of money. Instead, there are plenty of creative ways to offer employee benefits. If you're unsure of where to begin, this article explores a few benefit-based retention techniques to help you get started.

Let's dive in!

Retention Techniques

Paid Vacations (Not your average paid time off package.)

Needless to say, everyone likes paid time off. But, what's even better than that?

Getting paid while enjoying a well-deserved break.

According to the Mental Health Foundation, businesses offering paid vacations create a better work-life balance for employees, which is essential for good mental health. Aside from improving employee retention, paid holidays can also enhance the following:

  • Productivity: Productivity can improve when employees are given more time to recharge. In fact, 75% of employees who took their vacation days vs. those who didn’t take all their vacation days performed better at work.
  • Problem detection: As other staff members have to cover employees on vacation, a fresh set of eyes are put on their workloads. As a result, problems are sometimes detected and resolved that might have gone unnoticed otherwise.
  • Better teamwork: Following the above point, when team members are given extra vacation time, covering each other’s workloads while someone is away becomes the norm. This supportive attitude cultivates a more positive workplace culture and environment, where teamwork is at the core.

More traditional U.S. employers typically offer employees around ten days of paid holidays a year. However, one way to incentivize workers and boost retention is to add more vacation time to that average. A couple of noteworthy examples of this in action are at Cisco, which introduced “unplug” days in 2020, and at ID startup Hiya, which introduced holidays on the last Friday of each month.

Pro Tip: It’s also worth considering paid vacation time when making informed compensation offers using ThinkWhy’s compensation planner tools.

Flexible Work

Interestingly, 41% of employees want full-time flexible or remote working. With 4.1 million people working remotely during COVID-19, employee work priorities and norms have been shifted, with many wanting to keep these changes in place, even when in-office working becomes safe.

So, giving employees the option to work remotely could massively boost retention - the same goes for offering flextime. This is when the employer enables employees to work a set number of hours (e.g., 35/week). However, the employee chooses the start and finish times for each working day, usually within specific parameters. So, for example, instead of working hours between 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., the employee could choose 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Additionally, flextime also enables employees to reduce their hours on day and make those hours up throughout the week.

In a landscape where workers have spent the last two years working remotely, firms not offering flextime to gently encourage a return to the office may lose out on talent. One 2021 PwC study found that 65% of employees looking for another job said increased job flexibility is one of their reasons for moving on.

Improved Mental Health and Well-Being

Every workplace should have mental health and well-being policies in place. However, one Harvard Business Review study in 2021 found that 68% of Millennials and 81% of Gen Z-ers have left their roles for mental health reasons. In addition, 91% of respondents believe employers need to cultivate a culture that supports mental health. With COVID-19 came a wave of anxiety and depression. In fact, those living with anxiety rose to 65%, and depression increased to 61%. On top of that, as many as one in three might quit their jobs due to mental health issues.

This begs the question, what can employers do to help their workers’ mental health? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Provide health insurance: Providing good health, dental and vision insurance go hand-in-hand with improving mental health. In fact, the Mental Health Foundation states our psychological and physical health are interconnected.
  • Training: One way to demonstrate a commitment to well-being and good mental health in the workplace is to ensure managers are trained to better support their team members experiencing mental health difficulties.
  • Well-being programs: Well-being programs (sometimes referred to as EAP or Employee Assistance Programs), can cover all manner of topics - from fitness to financial literacy, to mental health advice, and even access to mental health tools such as Headspace.

Are You Ready to Increase Employee Retention?

The resignation statistics in the U.S., along with the ongoing skills shortage, are concerning.. So if employers want to retain their employees, they need to adopt more innovative methods like those outlined above. In short, employers who offer better pay, enhanced vacation time, greater flexibility, as well as showing appreciation through competitive compensation packages are those that will attract and retain top talent.